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Old NCERT Gist (Satish Chandra): Summary of The Age of Vijaynagara And The Bahamanids - History for UPSC CSE

By the end of the Sultanate Period, Multan and Bengal were the first territories to break away from the Delhi and declared independent and many other territories in the Deccan region rose to power.

The Origin (1336-1672 A.D.)
(i) Harihara and Bukka were the founder the Vijayanagar City.
(ii) Once Feudatories of Kakatiyas of Warangal, and later ministers in kingdom of Kampili (k'taka). Kampili was overrun by MBT, they were captured, converted and appointed to quell rebellions there.
(iii) Since Muslim governor of Madurai, Hoysala ruler of Mysore and ruler of Warangal had already declared independence from Sultanate, H&B got readmitted to Hinduism by their guru Vidyaranya and established the capital at Vijaynagar in 1336 on the southern banks of Tungabhadra. Later on, Hoyasalas & Madurai was captured under vijaynagara empire
(iv) They made Hampi as the capital city. Bukka succeeded Harihara in 1356 and ruled till 1377.

Vijayanagar Empire was ruled by four important dynasties and they are:

  1. Sangama
  2. Saluva
  3. Tuluva
  4. Aravidu

Harihara I
(i) In 1336 A.D. Harihara I became the ruler of Sangama Dynasty
(ii) He captured Mysore and Madurai.
(iii) In 1356 A.D. Bukka-I succeeded him

Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529 A.D.)
(i) Krishnadeva Raya of the Tuluva dynasty was the most famous king of the Vijayanagar Empire
(ii) According to Domingo Paes a Portuguese traveller "Krishnadeva Raya was the most feared and perfect king there could possiblv be".

The Glories of the Vijayanagar Empire
Rajyas or mandalam (provinces) > nadu (district) > sthala (sub-district) > grama (village). Chola tradition of self government was weakened by Vijayanagar. Princes were appointed governors, and later vassals.
(i) Well-organized administrative system. The king was head of all powers in the state.
(ii) Council of Ministers - to assist the King in the work of administration.
(iii) The Empire was divided into six Provinces.
(iv) Naik - a Governor who administered each Province. Governors enjoyed large autonomy and maintained own armies. Were allowed to issue own coins of small denomination. Had the right to impose taxes.
(v) The provinces were divided into districts and the districts were further divided into smaller units namely villages.
(vi) The village was administered by hereditary officers like accountants, watchmen, the weightsmen, and officers in charge of forced labour.
(vii) Mahanayakacharya: He is an officer and the contact point between the villages and the Central administration.
(viii) Vijayanagar was more of a confederacy than a centralized empire. Many areas were under the control of subordinate rulers. Amarams (territories) with fixed revenue were granted to military chiefs (palaiyagars, palegars, nayaks) who had to maintain a fixed number of foot soldiers, horses and elephants and oay a fixed amount to centre. They became powerful, asserted independence (Tanjore, Madurai) and contributed to the downfall of the empire.

The Army
(i) The army consisted of the infantry, cavalry and elephantry.
(ii) The commander-in-chief was in charge of the army.

Revenue Administration
(i) Land revenue was the main source of income
(ii) The land was carefully surveyed and taxes were collected based on the fertility of the soil.
(iii) Major importance was given to agriculture and in building dams and canals.
(iv) According to inscription, the rate of taxes were 1/3rd of kuruvai (a type of rice) during winter, 1/4th of sesame, ragi, horsegram. l/6th of millet and dry-land crops.

Judicial Administration
(i) The king was the supreme judge.
(ii) Severe punishments were given for the guilty.
(iii) Those who violated the law were levied.

Position of Women
(i) Women occupied a high position and took an active part in political, social and literary life of the empire.
(ii) They were educated and trained in wrestling, in the use of various weapons of offence and defence, in music and fine arts.
(iii) Some women also received education of high order.
(iv) Nuniz writes that the kings had women astrologers, clerks, accountants, guards and wrestlers.

Social life
(i) The society was systemized.
(ii) Child marriage, polygamy and sati were prevalent.
(iii) The kings allowed freedom of religion.
(iv) Nicolo Conti visited during Deva Raya I and Abdur Razzaq during Deva Raya II.

Economic conditions
(i) Controlled by their irrigational policies.
(ii) Textiles, mining, metallurgy perfumery, and other several industries existed.
(iii) They had commercial relations with, the islands in the Indian Ocean, Abyssinia, Arabia, Burma, China, Persia, Portugal, South Africa, and The Malay Archipelago.

Contribution to Architecture and Literature
(i) The Hazara Ramasami temple and Vittalaswamy temple was built during this period
(ii) The bronze image of Krishnadeva Raya is a masterpiece.
(iii) Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada literature were developed.
(iv) Sayana wrote commentaries on Vedas.
(v) Krishnadevaraya wrote Amuktamalyada in Telugu and Usha Parinayam and Jambavathi Kalyanam in Sanskrit.

Decline of the Empire
(i) The rulers of the Aravidu dynasty were weak and incompetent.
(ii) Many provincial governors became independent.
(iii) The rulers of Bijapur and Golconda seized some areas of Vijayanagar

2. BAHMANI KINGDOM: The Bahmani Kingdom was one of the most powerful Muslim kingdoms in India. Founded in 1347. Alaudin Hasan, an Afghan adventurer (Hasan Gangu). Assumed title of Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah. Firuz Shah Bahmani was the most prolific ruler.

Political History
Hasan Gangu Bahmani
(i) Hasan Gangu Bahmani was the founder of the Bahmani Kingdom.
(ii) He was a Turkish officer of Devagiri.
(iii) in 1347 A.D. he established the independent Bahmani kingdom.
(iv) His kingdom stretched from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, included the whole of Deccan up to the river Krishna with its capital at Gulbarga.

Muhammad Shah-I (1358-1377.A.D.)
(i) He was the next ruler of the Bahamani Kingdom.
(ii) He was an able general and administrator.
(iii) He defeated Kapaya Nayaks of Warangal and the Vijayanagar ruler Bukka-I. 

Muhammad Shah-ll (1378-1397.A.D.)
(i) In 1378 A.D. Muhammad Shah-ll ascended the throne.
(ii) He was a peace lover and developed friendly relations with his neighbours.
(iii) He built many mosques, madrasas (a place of learning) and hospitals.

Feroz Shah Bahmani (1397-1422 A.D.)
(i) He was a great general
(ii) Well acquainted with religion and fond of natural sciences. Good calligraphist and poet.
(iii) Was determined to make Deccan the cultural centre of India.
(iv) Decline of Sultanate caused many learned men to migrate to Deccan.
(v) Inducted Hindus into Bahmani administration on a large scale
(vi) He defeated the Vijayanagar ruler Deva Raya I.

Ahmad Shah (1422-1435 A.D.)
(i) Ahmad Shah succeeded Feroz Shah Bahmani
(ii) He was an unkind and heartless ruler.
(iii) He conquered the kingdom of Warangal.
(iv) He changed his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.
(v) He died in 1435A.D.

Muhammad Shah-Ill (1463-1482 A.D.)
(i) In 1463A.D. Muhammad Shah III became the Sultan at the age of nine
(ii) Muhammad Gawan became the regent of the infant ruler.
(iii) Under Muhammad Gawan's able leadership the Bahmani kingdom became very powerful.
(iv) Muhammad Gawan defeated the rulers of Konkan, Orissa, Sangameshwar, and Vijayanagar.

Muhammad Gawan
(i) He was a very wise scholar and an able administrator.
(ii) He improved the administration, systematized finances, encouraged public education, reformed the revenue system, disciplined the army and eliminated corruption.
(iii) In 1481 Muhammad Gawan persecuted by the Deccan Muslims who were jealous of him and sentenced to death by Muhammad Shah.

The Five Muslim Dynasties
Muhammad Shah-Ill died in 1482. His successors were weak and the Bahmani Kingdom disintegrated into five kingdoms namely:
(i) Bijapur
(ii) Ahmednagar
(iii) Bera
(iv) Golconda
(v) Bidar

(i) The Sultans followed a Feudal type of administration.
(ii) Tarafs - The kingdom was divided into many provinces called Tarafs
(iii) Tarafdar or Amir - Governor who controlled the Taraf.

Contribution to Education
(i) The Bahmani Sultans gave great attention to education.
(ii) They encouraged Arabic and Persian learning.
(iii) Urdu also flourished during this period

Art and Architecture
(i) Numerous mosques, madarasas and libraries were built.
(ii) The Juma Masjid at Gulbarga The Golconda Fort
(iii) The Golgumbaz at Bijapur
(iv)The Madrasas of Muhammad Gawan

(i) Golgumbaz in Bijapur is called the whispering gallery because when one whispers, the lingering echo of the whisper is heard in the opposite corner.
(ii) This is so because when one whispers in one corner, a lingering echo is heard in the opposite corner.

Decline of Bahmani Kingdom
(i) There was a constant war between the Bahmani and Vijayanagar rulers.
(ii) Inefficient and weak successors after Muhammad Shah III.
(iii) The rivalry between the Bahmani rulers and foreign nobles

(i) Interests of Vijayanagar and Bahmanids clashed in three areas:

  1. Tungabhadra doab (because of wealth and economic resources)
  2. KG delta (because of fertile delta, ports)
  3. marathwada country (because of access to Konkan region and ports, especially for import of good quality of horses). Military conflicts between the two kingdoms continued till they existed.

(ii) In 1367, Bukka I killed Bahmani garrison. In response, Bahmani sultan crossed doab, entered Vijayanagar and defeated Bukka I. There was use of artillery for the first time in this war. Vijayanagar faced setbacks due to superior Bahman artillery and efficient cavalry. Ultimately, there was a stalemate and original territories were restored.
(iii) Vijayanagar made eastward expansion under Harihara II (1377-1406) - Reddis on upper reaches of delta and Kingdom of Warangal. Orissan kings and Bahmanids were also interested in Warangal. Warangal had signed an alliance with Bahmanids that lasted 50 years and prevented Vijayanagar from capturing the doab.
However, Harihara II wrestled Belgaum and Goa from Bahmanids and sent an envoy to SL.
(iv) Deva Raya I (1404-22) was defeated by Bahmani king Firuz Shah (not Tughlaq). Married his daughter to Firuz and ceded Bankapur in the doab. Not the first political marriage. Ruler of Kherla in gondwana had also married his daughter to Firuz.
(v) Confusion over Reddis - alliance with Warangal to partition Reddis between them. Warangal's defection changed balance of power. Deva Raya I defeated Firuz and annexed territory up to mouth of Krishna river. Built dams across Tungabhadra and Haridra for irrigation purposes.
(vi) Deva Raya II ascended in 1425. Till 1446. Greatest ruler of the dynasty. Inducted muslims in the army and asked hindu soldiers to learn archery from them in order to combat superior Bahmanid archers. Crossed doab to capture lost territories but failed. Portugese writer Nuniz tells that kings of Quilon, SL, Pulicat, Pegu and Tenasserim paid tribute to Deva Raya II. Vijayanagar = most powerful and wealthy state in south during first half of 15th century. Kings of Vijayanagar were very wealthy and hoarded bullion within the palace, which was a common feature.

(i) Firuz Shah Bahmani ascended in 1397. Started expansion towards Berar and Kherla. Then happened the Deva Raya I episode mentioned earlier. Had to abdicate in favour of Wali (saint) Ahmad Shah I. Invaded Warangal in revenge of defection, defeated and annexed it. Shifted capital from Gulbarga to Bidar. Loss of Warangal to Bahmani kingdom changed balance of power in its favour.
(ii) Bahamani Kingdom expanded and reached territorial limits under prime ministerial ship of Mahmud Gawanf who was earlier the Chief of merchants = Malik-ul-Tujjar. Overran Dabhol and Goa, causing increased trade for the empire. Gawan made efforts to secure northern frontiers of the empire. Was aided by Gujarat ruler while defeating Mahmud Khalji of Malwa over Berar. Pattern of struggle in south india did not allow divisions along political lines. Strategic ad political considerations over trade and commerce were more important. Struggles of North and South were not in isolation. Orissan kings made inroads to as far as Madurai once. Gawan carried out internal reforms. Divided kingdoms into eight tarafs (provinces), each governed by a tarafdar. Salries were paid in cash or by assigning jagir. A tract of land in each province was set aside for expenses of the sultan (khalisa). Set up a magnificent madrasa at Bidar where many scholars came and stayed.
(iii) Bahmani kingdom faced strife among nobles. Were divided into old-comers and new-comers or Deccanis and Afaqis (gharibs). Gawan tried to conciliate with Deccanis but failed and was killed in 1482. Soon, Bahmani kingdom split into five principalities: Golconda, Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Berar and Bidar. Bahmani kingdom acted as a cultural bridge between north and south.

(i) Due to absence of principle of primogeniture, civil war was fought for the throne.
(ii) Many feudatoriesassumed independence. Authority of king declined to Krnataka and western Andhra. Throne was usurped by Saluva, who restored internal law and order and founded a new dynasty-Tuluva dynasty by Krishna Deva. Krishna Deva Raya (KDR) was the greatest figure of this dynasty.

Krishnadeva Raya's Conquests
(i) He conquered Sivasamudram in 1510A.D and Raichur in 1512A.D
(ii) In 1523 A.D. he captured Orissa and Warangal
(iii) His empire extended from the river Krishna in the north to River Cauvery in the south; Arabian Sea in the west to Bay of Bengal in the east

His Contributions
(i) An able administrator. KDR built new town near Vijayanagar.
(ii) He built large tanks and canals for irrigation.
(iii) He developed the naval power understanding the vital role of overseas trade.
(iv) He maintained friendly relationship with the Portuguese and Arab traders.
(v) He increased the revenue of his government.
(vi)  He patronized art and architecture.
(vii) It was during his period the Vijayanagar Empire reached its zenith of glory.
(viii) Krishnadeva Raya was a great scholar.
(ix) Ashtadiggajas: A group of eight scholars adorned his court and they were:

  1. Allasani Peddanna -the author of Manucharitram, he was also known as Andhra Kavitapitamaha
  2. Nandi Thimmana - the author of Parijathapaharanam
  3. Madayagari Mallana
  4. Dhurjati
  5. Ayyalaraju Ramabhadra Kavi
  6. Pingali Surana
  7. Ramaraja Bhushana
  8. Tenali Ramakrishna

(i) Internal feuds led to a neglect with regards to arrival of Portugese.
(ii) KDR did not pay attention to development of navy, unlike Cholas.
(iii) The successors of Krishnadeva Raya were weak
(iv) Sadashiv Raya ascended and reigned till 1567. Real power lay with Rama Raya who entered into a commercial treaty with Portugese and stopped horse supply to Bijapur and thereby defeated them along with Golconda and Ahmadnagar. Later, these three aligned and defeated Vijaynagar near Bannihatti in 1565. This marked the end of Vijayanagar empire-Battle of Talikota (1565 A.D.)
(v) The combined forces of Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Golconda and Bidar declared war on Vijayanagar during the rule of Ramaraya
(vi) Ramaraya was defeated. He and his people were killed mercilessly.
(vii) Vijayanagar was pillaged and ruined.

6. ADVENT OF PORTUGESE: Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut in 1498.
Factors which bought Portugese to India:
(i) Expansion of European economy and land under cultivation, which led to rise of cities and increase in trade.
(ii) Increase in prosperity and thus the demand for silk from China and spices and drugs from India and SE Asia. Pepper was needed to make meat palatable and was brought overland through Levant and Egypt. With the rise of Ottoman Turks, this route proved expensive due to monopolization of the transit route.
(iii) Growth and eastern expansion of Turkish navy and turning of Mediterranean into a Turkish lake alarmed the Europeans. Spain and Portugal had to increase their navies in response to this threat.
(iv) There arose a spirit of adventure fuelled by Renaissance and led to search for new land and exploration of hitherto unknown regions. Thus, Genoese Columbus discovered US. Portugese ruler Dom Henrique = Henry, The Navigator was excited about these developments.
(v) Henry sent ships to discover India in order to:

  1. Oust the Arabs and European rivals from rich Eastern trade and
  2. Counterpoise the growing power of Turks by converting the heathens of Africa and Asia to Christianity.

(vi) In 1483, Batholomew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope and laid the basis of direct trade link between Europe and India. Long voyages were made possible by navigation compass and astrolabe.

Porteguese advent:
(i) Zamorin allowed Vasco to take peppers etc. On his ships, which were later sold at high price in Portugal. Reason for slow growth of trade was the monopoly  exercised by Portugese government. Not to be left behind, sultan of Egypt sent a fleet to India, which was subsequently routed by Portugese.
(ii) Soon after, Albuquerque was made governor of eastern Portugese possessions and embarked upon a policy of dominating oriental commerce by setting up ports at strategic locations in Asia and Africa. Initiated the policy by capturing Goa from Bijapur in 1510. Sacked Bijapuri ports of Danda-Rajouri and Dabhol, set up forts at Colombo, Achin (Sumatra), Malacca port, Socotra (mouth of red sea) and Ormuz (entry into Persian Gulf).
(iii) Faced external challenge from Turks, who after conquering western Europe till Vienna in 1529, had turned their attention to naval warfare. Sultan of Gujarat sent an embassy to Ottoman ruler who agreed to fight the Portugese and subsequently removed them from the Red Sea. Two Turks were made governors of Surat and Diu. Portugese attacked these places and were defeated, and set up their fort at Chaul, lower down the coast.
(iv) Then came the internal threat from Mughals as Humayun attacked Gujarat. Bahadur Shah granted island of Bassein to Portugese in return for an alliance against Mughals. A Portugese fort was allowed at Diu. Bahadur Shah again appealed to Ottoman sultan for help but was killed in 1536 before the Turks mounted a naval offensive with a large navy against the Portugese at Diu. This continued for two decades till 1556, when Turks and Portugese agreed to share the spice trade and not to quarrel in the Arab seas

(i) Portugese were not able to change Asian trade networks.
(ii) Gujaratis and Arabs dominated the lucrative trade in textiles, rice and sugar. They were not even able to monopolize pepper trade since mughals and safavids jointly protected land trade routes and a new sea route via Achin and Lakshwadeep to Red Sea was arranged, where Portugese could not operate.
(iii) Portugese were able to adversely affect Malabar trade and sea trade from Bengal. They opened up India's trade with Japan, from which copper and silver were obtained.
(iv) They could not act as a bridge for transmitting European renaissance science and tech to India, mainly because they themselves were not affected and became against it later on due to Catholic influence (Jesuits).
(v) Introduced potato, tobacco from central America to India.
(vi) Defeat of Vijayanagar at Bannihatti inl565 emboldened Deccani states to stand against Portugese. However, they were unsuccessful and Portugese might prevailed near Calicut and Malabar coast.

The document Old NCERT Gist (Satish Chandra): Summary of The Age of Vijaynagara And The Bahamanids | History for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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FAQs on Old NCERT Gist (Satish Chandra): Summary of The Age of Vijaynagara And The Bahamanids - History for UPSC CSE

1. What was the significance of the Vijayanagara Empire in Indian history?
Ans. The Vijayanagara Empire was a powerful Hindu kingdom that emerged in South India during the 14th century. It played a significant role in Indian history as it was a center of Hindu culture, art, and architecture. The empire also acted as a bulwark against the expansion of Muslim kingdoms in the Deccan region. Its rulers patronized religious institutions and encouraged the growth of regional languages and literature.
2. How did the Bahmani Sultanate impact the political landscape of the Deccan region?
Ans. The Bahmani Sultanate was a Muslim kingdom that was established in the Deccan region in the 14th century. It significantly impacted the political landscape by introducing a centralized administration, Islamic law, and Persian as the court language. The sultanate also witnessed a synthesis of Hindu-Muslim cultures and influenced the development of regional languages, literature, and architecture.
3. What were the major conflicts between the Vijayanagara Empire and the Bahmani Sultanate?
Ans. The Vijayanagara Empire and the Bahmani Sultanate were two powerful kingdoms in the Deccan region, often engaged in conflicts. The major conflicts between them were primarily due to territorial disputes, control over trade routes, and religious differences. These conflicts resulted in several wars and battles, leading to shifting power dynamics in the region.
4. How did the Vijayanagara Empire contribute to the development of art and architecture?
Ans. The Vijayanagara Empire was known for its patronage of art and architecture. The empire witnessed the construction of magnificent temples, palaces, and monuments, showcasing the Dravidian architectural style. The rulers supported artists, sculptors, and craftsmen, resulting in the creation of intricate carvings, sculptures, and paintings. The empire's architectural legacy can still be seen in the ruins of Hampi, the erstwhile capital of Vijayanagara.
5. What were the economic factors that contributed to the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire?
Ans. The decline of the Vijayanagara Empire can be attributed to various economic factors. The empire faced financial strain due to continuous warfare, which drained its resources. The control of international trade routes by European powers also impacted the empire's economy. Additionally, internal conflicts, corruption, and mismanagement of resources further weakened the empire's economic stability, eventually leading to its downfall.
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